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Bebop Spoken There

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

SUNDAY 20

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

Riviera Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. A limited number of seats are available which MUST be bought in advance online. £7:50 or £5:45 live stream only.

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

CD Review: Wolfgang Muthspiel – Where The River Goes

Wolfgang Muthspiel (guitar); Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet); Brad Mehldau (piano); Larry Grenadier (double bass); Eric Harland (drums).
(Review by Hugh C).                                                         
Where The River Goes is a natural progression from Wolfgang Muthspiel’s Rising Grace recording of 2016 (reviewed on BSH), reuniting the Austrian guitarist with Brad Mehldau, Ambrose Akinmusire and Larry Grenadier, and bringing in Eric Harland on drums;  these musicians all heavy hitters in their own right.  The compositions, with two exceptions, are all by Muthspiel.
The title track, Where The River Goes opens with Muthspiel’s solo guitar.  Brad Meldhau picks up the fluvial theme then Larry Grenadier joins as the stream widens, finally Eric Harland and Ambrose Akinmusire complete the quintet on their journey downstream.  Atmospheric (almost flugel-like) trumpet from Akinmusire and intricate guitar work from Muthspiel are the highlights in this piece.  

For Django is a fitting tribute to the great man (no, not Mr Bates!).  Descendants is themed around a sequence of tumbling note series, initially played on trumpet and then taken up by piano and guitar in turn.  A steady tempo is maintained by the rhythm section.  Clearing (an improvised composition by all five musicians) evokes the feeling of an encircling forest from which percussive drumbeats and soulful calls emanate, suggesting the presence of a surrounding, hidden people.

Buenos Aires features Muthspiel’s solo guitar, but in an almost classical, Spanish, style.  One Day My Prince Was Gone (unsurprisingly) gives the distinct impression of being a reverse-engineered construction from a disassembled Morey and Churchill hit from the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – a sort of contrafact, perhaps?  Blueshead (a Brad Mehldau composition) sets off (and continues) at a brisk pace and incorporates a bass solo from Larry Grenadier.   Muthspiel and Mehldau also take solos.  The final track is Panorama, another Muthspiel composition.

Where The River Goes captures five top-flight musicians at their very best, but playing as an ensemble with its own distinct identity.  At just over 48 minutes, this relatively compact disc is also issued on vinyl.
Hugh C.
Catalogue: ECM  2610

Wolfgang Muthspiel plays music from Where The River Goes on tour this autumn with concerts at major venues in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Estonia and elsewhere. The tour commences in Tallin on 30 October 2018 and finishes on 12 January - before Brexit can affect travel to mainland Europe!
Full tour details here

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